Brussels, 25th October 2007
Strategies to make EU tourism destinations competitive by embracing sustainability will be the focal point of discussions at the 6th European Tourism Forum, which takes place tomorrow in Portimao, Algarve in Portugal. At the occasion of this conference, European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen will present the awards to the winners of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) tomorrow. At the forum the European Commission will also present its new communication launching a strategy to foster sustainable and competitive tourism in Europe. It invites all stakeholders to strengthen the contribution of sustainable practices to making Europe the most attractive tourism destination.
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “The success and growth potential of Europe as a tourist destination of the future will depend on our capacity to preserve and reinforce the assets of Europe through a combination of reasonable development and innovation of the tourism product."
Ministers of Tourism from Member States as well as Portuguese and European tourism authorities will participate in the European Tourism Forum to discuss the following topics:
On Friday 19 October 2007, the Commission launched the “Agenda for a Sustainable and Competitive European Tourism”, which follows on the renewed EU Tourism Policy (see IP/06/344). In order to achieve a competitive and sustainable development of tourism in Europe the Commission invites all actors to embrace the following principles:
The Commission's Agenda aims at strengthening a voluntary and continuous process. It should be promoted by all tourism stakeholders in Europe: the different levels of government – local authorities, destination management organisations, regions, Member States – , businesses, tourists and all other bodies that can stimulate (trade unions, universities, research establishments, ...).
The Communication also contains a message of commitment by the Commission to
this Agenda process. It builds the framework for the implementation of
supportive European policies and actions in the tourism domain and in all other
policy areas which exert an impact on the development of tourism and on its
Tourism is one of the economic activities with most significant potential to generate future growth and employment in the EU. In its narrow definition, tourism currently contributes some 4% to EU GDP, varying from about 2% in several new Member States and 12% in Malta. Its indirect contribution to GDP creation is much higher - tourism indirectly generates more than 10% of EU GDP and provides about 12% of all jobs.